American Science and Medicine collection  1702-1897
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The American Science and Medicine collection (152 items) contains miscellaneous items that document various aspects of science and medicine in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fields covered include anatomy, astrology, astronomy, botany, dentistry, geography, medicine, paleontology, physics, and physiology.

Discussed are:

  • Agriculture, plants, and seeds
  • Communication and travel
  • Collecting specimens for natural history museums
  • Epidemics (influenza, cholera, yellow fever)
  • Higher education and honorary degrees
  • Inoculations
  • Land surveying
  • Mathematics and navigation
  • Medical techniques and treatments for diseases, wounds, and afflictions
  • Medicinal recipes
  • Mental health
  • Quackery
  • Scientific and medical texts and lectures
  • Technological developments and experiments in machinery, and architectural projects
  • Venereal diseases

Below are some highlights from the collection:

  • April 19, 1788: Description of riot set off by alleged body snatching by medical students in New York
  • August 31, 1792: Order for an inoculation
  • June 30, 1796: Request to Charles Wilson Peale from members of a Paris museum to exchange specimens, including mastodon and opossums
  • January 15, 1826: Thomas Nuttall to a bookseller named Mr. Brown concerning 10 boxes of natural history specimens he is sending from Oahu, Hawaii
  • August 7, 1832: Account of the course and spread of Cholera in Albany, and fears that southern slaves will suffer the most from Cholera
  • September 13, 1833: Description of bright flashing lights appearing in the sky
  • August 24, 1835: Recommendation of a physician of the ‘new school’ of medicine who does not utilize bleeding, blistering, or calomelization (mercury cure)
  • December 15, 1840: Description of eye surgery performed on a patient at the Medical College of Geneva, New York
  • January 12, 1842: Discussion of constructing a microscope to view bacillaria
  • May 8, 1844: Astrological reading that predicts the recipient will marry a man from the north with light brown hair
  • September 19, 1848: Rules and customs of telegraphing
  • [1860]: David Wyrick's documents, maps, diagrams, and illustrations regarding Hebrew inscriptions (now known as the"Newark Holy Stones") allegedly dug up near Newark, Ohio
  • [1895]: Request for a list of names of locals with eye problems on letterhead for Narcissa Waterman, Eye Doctress
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